Plans of the South African Government to assist in the Resolution of the Crisis in Western Sahara
FOR ORAL REPLY
QUESTION NO: 21
PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO 3 OF 19 FEBRUARY 2008
MS KR MAGAU (ANC) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Whether the Government has any plans to assist in the speedy resolution of the crisis in Western Sahara, if not, why not: if so, what plans?
The 2008 International Relations, Peace and Security (IRPS) cluster priorities reconfirmed South Africa’s principled position on the right to self-determination for the Western Sahara. Our policy on Western Sahara is based on the following policy principles and objectives:
• Principle of right to self-determination
• Principle of decolonisation and the sanctity of colonial borders
• Respect for human rights and humanitarian assistance and support
• Principle of international legality and the centrality of the United Nations
• Non exploitation of natural resources of the illegally occupied territory
• Stability and security of the Maghreb region
In terms of the Department’s Strategic Plan for the period from 2008 to 2011, South Africa will intensify its international and domestic efforts in support of the political and humanitarian assistance to the SADR. In this respect South Africa has, given its own history, campaigned strongly at the international level for the independence of the last remaining colony on the African continent and will continue its efforts in this respect.
Around one hundred and fifty thousand (150 000) Saharawi refugees remain in the refugee camps in south-west Algeria, relying on international humanitarian aid. The deteriorating humanitarian situation represents a serious challenge that has the potential to destabilise the North Africa region. International interest and active support for humanitarian relief remain low. In terms of the MTEF for 2008 to 2011, South Africa will facilitate and coordinate a R42 million humanitarian assistance programme to alleviate the plight of Saharawi refugees through the following African Renaissance Fund (ARF) humanitarian projects:
• Humanitarian demining and victim assistance
• Youth development sport complex
• Humanitarian aid
Western Sahara’s legal status in the 4th Committee of United Nations General Assembly is clear: it is a non-self-governing territory awaiting decolonisation through a referendum on self-determination.
The challenge for South Africa’s is to continue to support the Saharawi People to achieve their legitimate right to self-determination in a UN supervised referendum.